Virtually all Christian women have read Titus 2. But practically speaking, what does it look like? What does it mean for you and me?
During the pastor’s luncheon, he took a few moments to address the “Titus 2 woman.” I want to share some of his thoughts (not quoted, but cited as accurately as my notes and memory allow) and then jump off from them:
- Titus 2 is not one woman leading a group class.
- Older Christian women are to BE this. (Not just “a” woman, here or there. All Christian women.)
- It’s not a classroom setting being described. This is life-on-life discipleship.
- This is not a description youth group, because this is older married women teaching younger married women. Older mothers teaching younger mothers. Older women who are submitted to their own husbands training younger women to be submissive to their own husbands.
- Not a de facto “woman elder” (for all practical purposes, without the title)
- Age frame for “older?” Roughly 30, give or take (gauging from Jesus’ ministry age, as well as the life expectancy of the time.)
CAN TITUS 2 HAPPEN IN A CLASSROOM SETTING?
For my part, I’m not willing to live and die on #s 1 & 3. I see, definitely, that it doesn’t mean this HAS to happen in a classroom setting, but I also don’t see where it prohibits that setting from being used. The classroom is a common MEANS of worldview transmission, in our day and age.
For my part, I’m much more concerned about the specifications of the text being carried out than the setting. The setting described (as I see it) seems to be pretty much irrelevant, because it is the PARTICIPANTS and the IDEAS BEING TRANSMITTED that take center-stage in Titus 2.
To refresh our collective memories, here it is, Titus 2:3-5:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
So, for my part, I certainly agree that Titus 2 isn’t describing a classroom setting, per se, and is describing lifestyle discipleship.
But more than that, I’d argue, it’s not describing a setting at all, but rather a sort of relationship and means of transmission of godliness that God intends for women in the Body of Christ.
I also definitely agree with #5- that this passage is not describing some sort of position on a pastoral-staff, with a “Titus 2 woman” who expounds the Scriptures to all women as if she is a de facto elder to the female portion of the Body of Christ. That is not the sort of thing being described in this passage at all.
WHAT AGE IS A TITUS 2 WOMAN?
He said age 30-ish and up. I am so thankful to have Dr. Baucham weigh in on this. I’d previously only heard one other person (Carolyn Mahaney) actually be willing to put a number on it (she said 60, because of the age given in regard to the widows list in 1 Tim 5:9). Other people that I’ve seen address this topic tend to dance around the number by saying, “everyone should be a Titus 2 woman… even a 15 year old can have someone she’s mentoring!”
Well, yes… and no. Sure, we can all be discipling (a la 2 Tim. 2:2), at any age, but a 15 year old can not tell a 12 year old how to love her husband.
And while we can certainly talk about marriage with younger women of any age, I agree with Dr. Baucham’s #4- that this isn’t really speaking about an older woman being a youth pastor (or youth pastor’s wife) because it isn’t possible to “train” a 14-year-old how to be “submissive to her own husband.” We might could talk about the general principles of submission (as a believer, as a child, as an employee, as a citizen, as a wife), but this passage isn’t referring to youth ministry, or general discussion of the topic.
So, as far as age goes, I tend to agree with Dr. Baucham. I’ve always thought Mahaney’s number of 60 was really high, given the longevity (or rather, the lack thereof) of people in NT times. So, unless she is a recent convert, age 30-ish and up for “older women” is probably a good and helpful gauge for us.
By that time, a woman should have been walking with the Lord, is likely to have experienced enough trials to have found God faithful through hard times, and should be familiar enough with Scripture to be able to counsel from it with wisdom and discretion.
This points to the next topic–
ALL CHRISTIAN WOMEN ARE TO BE THESE THINGS
This admonition is an excellent one. Here’s a bit more that he said (this is a rough quote):
“If you’ve been a disciple for decades and don’t know theology, have you really been a disciple? In what other sphere do we accept that logic?” (You can’t be a plumber for decades and not have mastered the subject enough to answer a variety of questions and be considered a reliable, successful plumber. You can’t be an accountant, but twenty years in, still not have the ability to teach people the basics of math and bookkeeping.)
“Mediocrity should NOT be normative.”
I share Voddie’s concern that, in Christian circles, we have inadvertently adopted an idea that the “Titus 2” sort of woman is an extraordinary one. But she should not be. We should all be this woman, or be on our way to becoming this woman.
This passage should not describe some rarely-seen woman around whom we all gather and try to take notes as much as we can. We should be able to look to virtually ANY mature woman in the church and see a close similarity between her life and this passage.
EVERY Christian woman, unless she is a recent convert, should be accurately described by Titus 2.
A TITUS 2 SELF-EVALUATION:
- Am I reverent in my behavior? Respectable? Appropriately behaving as a woman of God?
- Am I a slanderer? This word is archaic, but the meaning is relevant for us today. Do I pass on stories that defame or make others look bad? Am I quick to believe and repeat things that are negative about others? Do I like to know stories that highlight bad qualities/events in the lives of people around me?
- Am I a slave to much wine? This has become a popular thing to joke about, even in some Christian circles. “Can’t wait to put the kids to bed and chill out with a nice glass of Merlot!” Am I living for mental numbing that won’t actually satisfy? Am I dependent on anything– food, Facebook? Is there anything aside from Christ that is enslaving me?
- Do I teach what is good? Does the counsel that bubbles from my mouth come from Scripture, or… from a mothering forum? …from ungodly sources? …from psychology-based thinking? …from a feminist heart? …from self-promoting, worldly thinking? Do I teach wise counsel from God’s Word, things that are right and noble and encourage others to see the world through God’s perspective and what He calls good?
- Do I “train” (faithfully discipline/teach over time) younger women to be affectionate and loving toward their husbands and children? Do I commiserate with complaints, or fan the flames of love and affection for family in the women around me?
- Do I “train” (faithfully discipline/teach over time) younger women to be self-controlled? Do I encourage others to govern their own spirits and feelings according to God’s Word, or do I massage feelings and encourage women around me to give free reign and full license to their anxieties and emotions?
- Do I “train” (faithfully discipline/teach over time) younger women to be pure? Are the women around me edified to have pure minds, pure hearts, pure consciences, pure eyes, pure words, or by my example and influence, do I encourage people toward worldliness?
- Do I “train” (faithfully discipline/teach over time) younger women to submit to their own husbands? If a friend comes to me with a disagreement she’s having with her husband, is she more likely to be encouraged in her “rights” or to be encouraged and reminded to adapt herself to and align herself under her husband? In regard to marriage advice, do I actively seek the obedience to God’s Word above obedience to culturally-popular attitudes?
- Do I “train” (faithfully discipline/teach over time) younger women to be kind? Are women around me being influenced toward a good-natured and contented approach to life?
- Do I “train” (faithfully discipline/teach over time) younger women with the overarching goal that God’s Word would be given greater credit and honor in the hearts and lives of those I influence? Is this the motivation that drives my interactions with younger women?